During a recent appearance on CNN, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — who serves as a member of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot and also chairs the House Intelligence Committee — laid out exactly how Donald Trump’s own actions are connected to the violence of January 6. On that day, a mob of the then-president’s supporters stormed the Capitol building in an effort to forcibly stop the formal certification of Joe Biden’s election victory, and these rioters acted in direct response to false claims from Trump about last year’s presidential election, which he’s claimed was somehow rigged for Joe Biden.
As Schiff put it, it seems important to consider the events of January 6 “in the right context,” and that broader “context” includes the months-long campaign by Trump and certain allies of his to de-legitimize the results of last year’s election. Schiff pointedly commented as follows:
‘I think we need to view January 6 in the right context, which is — there were efforts before the election to subvert the election by pushing out false claims of fraud. There were obviously efforts after the election to try to overturn the results, with the president intervening with state legislators, with… local board members who would vote whether to certify their elections. And then you have what was going on at the Justice Department — again, at the president’s instigation. All of this is important in terms of what led us to January 6 and where we go forward as a nation.’
In his anti-democratic efforts, Trump had an ally at the Justice Department: Jeffrey Clark, who Trump even considered appointing as acting attorney general. Clark advocated for the Justice Department to urge state legislators to kickstart special legislative sessions in order to examine supposed indications of election fraud issues. Broadly, state legislators in areas Biden won faced pressure from Trump allies to appoint members of the electoral college who would have supported Trump instead of Biden — which would have amounted to stealing the election. After a particular candidate is determined to be the winner of a state, members of the body known as the electoral college are appointed from that state who will, in a later proceeding, cast votes for the winning candidate. The overall winner is determined from the electoral college results.
Meanwhile, during his CNN appearance, Schiff also addressed the false narrative that rioters who have been charged and/or jailed in connection to the Capitol violence are “political prisoners.” Schiff called this idea “the alternate world that the former president would like people to live in,” which he said is “completely at odds with reality” and “a continuing danger to the country.”
Watch Schiff’s remarks below: